Lillian Allen

lillian-allen-prayer-hand-position1Lillian Allen is a leading international exponent of dub poetry hailing from Spanish Town, Jamaica and currently residing in Toronto as Professor of Creative Writing at the Ontario College of Art & Design University. Her latest CD (2012) is titled Anxiety.

Her first album of poetry with music, Revolutionary Tea Party, proclaimed a Landmark Album by Ms. Magazine, was followed by another Juno winner, Conditions Critical. Her third album, Freedom & Dance and her recording for children and young people, Nothing But a Hero, were released to critical acclaim.

Allen’s debut book of poetry, Rhythm An’ Hardtimes became a Canadian best seller, blazing new trails for poetic expression and opened up the form. Her other collections, Women Do This Everyday and Psychic Unrest are studied across the educational spectrum. Her literary work for young people includes three books: Why Me, If
You See Truth, and Nothing But a Hero.

Multi-disciplinary and experimental, Allen’s creativity crosses many genres including radio,
theatre, music and film; as writer, featured artist and producer/director and national radio show host. She co-produced/co-directed Blak Wi Blak, a film documentary on Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Allen, who grew up in Jamaica, immigrated to North America as a teenager where she studied in New York and Toronto, is internationally recognized as a godmother of dub lyricism, rap, and spoken word poetry. A pioneering exponent of the highly politicized form of dub poetry popularized in Britain by Linton Kewsi Johnson and Benjamin Zephaniah, Allen embedded feminist voice and brings world music influences and experimental sensibilities to the literary dub art form. Founder of the Toronto International Dub Poetry Festival and a variety of cultural organizations such as Fresh Arts that empower youth, Allen has spent over three decades writing, publishing, performing and doing workshop presentations of her work to audiences around the globe.

Allen is also a recognized authority and activist on issues of diversity in culture, cultural equity, cross cultural collaborations, and the power of arts in education and has worked, locally, nationally and internationally in this capacity. Her eclectic, insightful and inspiring lectures and performances have taken her as far as Jamaica and Switzerland. Allen is a professor of creative writing at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU). She has also held the post of distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Canada’s Queen’s University and University of Windsor.



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